Privacy and the metaverse


On October 28, 2021, Facebook announced the rebranding of its parent company from Facebook to Meta. Since then, the term “metaverse” has been a hot topic of discussion. 

From facial expressions to biometric data, the metaverse has the potential to collect new and vast amounts of personal information, allowing Meta to target participants with even more personalized ads. With the metaverse, Meta’s ad-based business model poses an even greater threat to online privacy. 

What is the metaverse? 

While Meta may have repopularized the term, the concept of a metaverse has long existed in the pages of sci-fi novels. Author Neal Stephenson first coined the term in 1992 in his book Snow Crash, where he sketched out a virtual world his characters could escape to as means of avoiding their dystopian reality. 

According to Stephenson, the metaverse refers to a “convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality in a shared online space”, allowing people to interact with others through 3D avatars. 

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